These days, content is perhaps the most important part of your website, assuming the basics are down and your website is usable. Content drives search. If you ever want to show up in Google search results, you need to have enough content to do so. Content also drives user engagement. Users search the Internet for information. If they can find that information on your site, that’s a point in your favor.
Content and Google. Google more or less rules the Internet. If you want your website to be seen, you need to have a presence on Google, in the search results. To do that, you need enough content to be indexed for keywords relating to your business. In a sense, it’s a matter of numbers. Have you ever noticed that most of the sites that show up in Google search results are sites with hundreds or thousands of pages, all full of value? That’s what you strive to be.
Each piece of content is an opportunity. It’s a chance for that piece of content – and thus a part of your website – to be ranked highly in Google search results for a given query. All of SEO, all of content marketing, is about identifying what queries have the most interested traffic and how you can maximize your opportunities to appear.
Content and users. Most people, when they perform a search online, are looking for information. Maybe they want to know more about a certain product. Maybe they want to research something. Maybe they want to make a purchase. Maybe they have a problem and are searching for an answer. In every case, they are seeking information.
The power of the Internet allows you to take steps to become the answer to those questions, the source of that information. Large sites with answers to a huge variety of questions become the IMDBs and Wikipedias of the world. Smaller sites with answers to a focused set of questions become the Mozs and the Entrepreneurs. Even smaller sites with even more specific audiences become the successful small businesses with an online presence.
Content as a sales opportunity. Just as every piece of content is a chance to be found on Google, every piece of content is a chance, when you’re found, for you to sell your product. Users view your content and, if you convince them you know what you’re talking about, they’re going to look at you in a favorable light. When they have a problem you can solve, they will turn to you in place of your competition.
You know that content is important, but the question is, how much content should you create? How often should you post it?
The amount of content you create and post will largely depend on your business and your audience. Just recognize that there is such a thing as too little content, and there is also such a thing as too much content. You don’t want your website to look outdated or abandoned. On the other hand, you don’t want to be posting so much content that you look like a spammer.
First, you need to determine how much content you absolutely need on your site. Take the time to brainstorm the essentials. Anything that relates directly to your business or your product, that falls under categories such as “how to use our product” or troubleshooting, that sort of content should be prioritized.
Second, you need to determine what content your users are searching for and how to produce it. This is the content that relates to your industry, but not necessarily your business. It’s the content that relates to the problems your product solves, but not necessarily your products themselves. It’s the content you use to attract new readers and keep old readers on your site.
Third, you need to determine what other content you can write to supplement user interest. This is the content that your users didn’t know they wanted. It’s the supplemental information about events, about industry trends, about new product developments and about public relations. It’s the information that you can provide to make yourself stand out amongst your peers who are doing what you’re trying to do.
Finally, you need to determine how frequently you should post all of this content.
A large part of your content frequency is going to rely on your audience. How large is your audience? How often do they check your site? If you only have ~50 people checking your website once a week, you don’t need to post a new blog article every single day. On the other hand, if you have 10,000 readers checking back every 1-2 days, you’re going to fall flat and lose them if you’re only posting once each week.
Your goal with your content is to attract readers, catch their attention and get them to stick around and keep coming back. To do this, you need to match your content schedule to their expectations, and then push the envelope. If your readers check once each week, post twice each week. Once they’re checking twice each week to catch the new content you post when you post it, up the ante to 3 times per week. Once they have adapted to this new content frequency, jump up to once per weekday. When you have them checking every day, it’s easy enough to have them check on weekends too.
Posting more than once per day is something best left to blogs with multiple frequent contributors and sites with massive audiences. If you’re trying to establish yourself as a news site, you may need to invest in frequent posts as well. Otherwise, you can get away with fewer posts, as long as you’re posting frequently enough to satisfy your users and your posts have sufficient value.
There’s one side topic that hasn’t been covered here; how often should you create content, vs. how often should you post content. This is where a content calendar comes in. Know, in advance, that you’re planning to post three time each week for the foreseeable future. That’s three blog posts per week; easy to write, right? What happens if you have writer’s block, get sick or a new industry event happens and shakes everything up? You need to scramble to keep up with your schedule. Skipping a post causes your dedicated readers to lose confidence. Posting a special update to keep up with the industry might encourage your users to push you into a schedule you can’t support.
The answer here is to take advantage of your content schedule to build a backlog of content you have scheduled to post in the future. Build up at least a month’s worth of content so you’re never caught with your digital pants down scrambling to find something to publish.
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